Heat treatment of tunisian soft wood species: Effect on the durability, chemical modifications and mechanical properties
Keywords:Chemical analyses, decay resistance, heat treatment, mechanical properties, Tunisian woods, volatile compounds.
AbstractLast decades, wood was promoted as building material. Wood heat treatment by mild pyrolysis has been reported to improve biological durability and dimensional stability of the material and constitutes
an attractive « non biocidal » alternative to classical preservation treatments. Previous studies have shown that conferred properties strongly depend on the heat treatment intensity. A quality control marker
based on mass loss has been developed. For several years, the increased development of Tunisian wood industry provides a significant capacity of wood production and transformation. Forests in Tunisia consist
essentially of coniferous species [Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis), Radiata pine (Pinus radiata), Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster), Stone pine (Pinus pinea)], characterised by a weak natural durability. Improved
durability and fungal resistance should allow the use of Tunisian species in the wood industry. Import limitation of European species and the use of local species allow the conservation of economic value
added in the country and improve the economic balance. For this reason, several Tunisian softwood species (Aleppo pine, Radiata pine and Maritime pine) have been heat-treated under vacuum atmosphere at
230°C to obtain a thermal degradation with mass losses of approximately 8, 10 and 12%. The oven device allows recording the dynamic Mass Loss (ML) during the treatment and following the thermodegradation
kinetic. The chemical composition of the studied wood samples was determined before and after heat treatment. For each wood species and treatment intensity, wood chemical and mechanical analyses were
performed by measuring O/C ratio, bending and hardness tests. Afterward, tests of decay resistance were performed according to the EN 113 Standard, with different fungal attacks (Poria Placenta, Coriolus
Versicolor) at 22°C and 70% of humidity for 16 weeks. Results were related to the mass loss. Furthermore, intensity of thermal degradation was evaluated by TD-GC-MS. Treated and untreated wood samples
were maintained during 15 minutes at 230 °C under nitrogen in the thermodesorption tube in order to analyse and compare resulting from the wood thermodegradation volatile compounds.